Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work types › Editorship of a book or a special issue of a journal
Peripheries in artistic research
by Mari Mäkiranta, Eija Timonen, Maiju Loukola
(Image: Screencapture from Vincent Roumagnac's exposition There is Nothing Outside the Stage Any Longer.)
RUUKKU #12 considers the conceptual, methodical, concrete and practical peripheries in the arts. This thematic issue ponders questions concerning what kinds of roles margins, peripheries or fringes have in the arts and artistic research? Can artistic research itself be conceived as a peripheral zone on the edge of the rationalistic scientific world? In the context of artistic research and the periphery theme it is interesting to ruminate upon what consequences can be expected when established ontological and epistemic questions are challenged. Also central to the thematic issue is how can periphery or peripherality be understood in artistic research in the field of the discursive-material, sensable and experiential.
Peripheries and margins may be envisioned as concrete or immaterial fields, phenomena, states of mind, associations, practices and epistemologies that are defined as ‘marginal'. When thinking of marginality, for example, as an elemental part of an artwork or an artistic process, one reaches the literal edge of artistic exploration: different (physical, discursive, conceptual, mental, imaginary, narrative, virtual, material, affective) conceptual and practical boundaries that can be linked to methods and means – or similarly, to ways of combining theoretical discussions with art's materiality. In artistic research, theory can also be structured as material, in which case we may ask: how do the actions and gestures of investigative art relate to the materiality of language?
Peripheries are always related to things and phenomena that are positioned as ‘mainstream'. When challenging the prevailing configurations – how do peripheries, in turn, become challenged themselves? Is it possible to reassess the current conceptions and borders stemming from the sphere of so-called normative thought, visualisation and spatiotemporal representation, through ideas and activities that manifest their status as ‘peripheral'? How do different areas in art and research get to be positioned as ‘peripheral' or ‘central' in relation to the conditions, structures, contexts and situations created by society and the surrounding communities? What is the role of marginalities in the ontological "turn" where dualisms are cast aside, as the focus has turned toward transformation, change and non-essentialistic perceptions of the world?
This thematic issue also considers the borders of peripheries themselves, or in other words the limits of borderlines, and the marginality of the marginal. In art, peripherality may be represented by the specificity of the material, the mode of expression, the tone, or the location of the artwork or other artistic performance. The extensive experiential landscape of artistic research creates relationships and produces tensions where certain things and elements become central and some have influence at the margin. It is with good reason that artistic research can be thought of as operating within the shadows of established knowledge structures, through piercing and questioning different predominant categories. At its best, the forms, materialisations and questions that come under scrutiny are things and issues that are linked to different contexts in such ways that they create new relationships between conditions, things, ideas and experiences.
The expositions in #13 discuss how different non-mainstream or marginal ways of thinking and practice – such as experimental theory, multisensory knowledge, improvisatory methods, or other unconventional approaches in the academic world – can open up new avenues for existing discussions and conceptions. The theme number consists of eight expositions, two of which explore methods and means of articulating artistic research (Carlin, Murray, McKinnon & Lobb, and Roumagnac), two discuss philosophical and ontological questions (Solsteif-Pirker and Giudici). Additionally, this issue includes expositions discussing peripheral environments (Timonen), normative notions of existence (Macek), socio-political relations (Brind, Harold & Souto), and the relationship between marginality and institutions (Moreschi).